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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

THE REPARATION  BILL          249

basis on which they were prepared to make peace.
Early in November they stated that President
Wilson's reference to "restoration" of invaded
countries should, in their view, be expanded into a
claim for compensation " for all damage done to the
civilian population of the Allies and to their property
by the aggression of Germany by land, by sea, and
from the air." * This is letting Germany off lightly ;
but, after stating their readiness to make peace on
the basis of the fourteen points, if amended as above
" (and also with regard to the Freedom of the Seas
question) it is not possible for the European Allies, as
the Prime Minister's late manifesto says they propose
to do,f to expand this claim for civilian damage into
a demand for the whole of their war cost up to the
limit of the capacity of the Central Powers to pay,
without a serious breach of faith. So that the
question of how much we can get out of Germany is
complicated by the further uncertainty of the size
of the bill for damages that we can present. It will
be big enough. We know that the Germans have
sunk 8| million tons of British ships during the war.
As to the price at which, for " restoration " purposes,
we shall value those ships and their cargoes, and all
the civilian property damaged by aircraft and bom-
bardment, this is a matter which it would be
obviously improper to discuss ; but we may be sure
that the bill will mount up to many hundreds of
millions, and it remains to be seen whether, after
Belgium and France have presented their account,

* Times, November 7, 1918.
s, December 6, $918,